As you have learned from your reading, knowing when a part or system will fail is important for a company. Mean time between failures (MTBF) is the expected time between failures of a part, process, or system and is a common matrix for a firm to use to understand how often a failure will occur.

Assume that you are the manager of a production line and are responsible for keeping the machines running 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. When a machine breaks, it must be repaired and put back onto operation as soon as possible. The problem is that your machines are always breaking down, and you really do not have a good understanding of how often a machine breaks down.

Hint: For this assignment, you will NOT be using the OM software but should use Excel to work the problem.

You decide to run a test to determine the mean time between failures. During the test, you start with 20 operational machines on your production line producing widgets. You record breakdowns during an 80-hour observation period in which three of the machines broke down. One at 35 hours into the test, one at 50 hours into the test, and the 3rd failure comes at 75 hours.

Use Excel and the data you collected to calculate the MTBF of your machines. Analyze your results and place them on the spreadsheet.

Continue to Step 2: Calculate the Expected Breakdown Maintenance Costs . . .

After collecting and analyzing the MTBF data, you were surprised at how often your machines really broke down. At your last company, you remember that they had a service firm that would come in and perform preventive maintenance (PM) on your machines and you wonder if this would be an option to reduce breakdowns. However, before you go to your boss to pitch the idea, you want to see if using an outside PM firm would reduce your cost.


MTBF and Maintenance Costs